Saturday, May 14, 2011

I've been vegetarian for a little over a year now.

People always say* "Be careful, vegetarianism is the gateway drug.  It just makes it easier to start the harder stuff."
*I have never heard anyone say this

Well, it turns out it's true.

And it turns out I am a vegan baking prodigy.

It all started two weeks ago when I made brownies for a Cinco de Mayo party.  I had read online that 1 tbsp ground flax seed, mixed with 3 tbsp water was an option for eggless baked goods, so I thought I'd give it a shot on a pan of brownies (then added 2 tbsp of cinnamon and 1 tbsp of chili powder... no margaritas were harmed in the making of these brownies).  Though technically not vegan (the base was a non-vegan, boxed mix), those gooey, chocolatey squares got rave reviews for the brief period before they had all been nom'ed.  Friends who perpetually turn their nose up at any mention of less meat, faux meat, or vegan options scarfed my brownies faster than my roommate's boyfriend's (by all accounts delicious) queso con carne.

Emboldened, I attempted carrot cupcakes (based on a recipe on my bag of flour).

And they were awesome.

1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c oil
2 flax eggs (1 flax egg = 1 tbsp ground flax seed... coffee grinder works great... mixed with 3 tbsp water until viscous)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp clove
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Then add:
1 c flour
1 c grated carrot
1/2 c chopped walnuts
10 oz crushed pineapple, drained (I was really surprised by the pineapple, but it made a great addition)
1/2 c raisins (I hydrated the raisins a bit in warm water first)
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder

Bake @ 350 about 15 minutes, or until done.

I cheated on the cream cheese frosting, but even without, these were pretty delicious.

I made some oatmeal raisin cookies tonight, and they're good, but I wouldn't be able to trick my vegan non-believer friends into trying them without coercion.  After the brownies on Cinco were all gone, I was like "It's vegan, SUCKAS." The revelation was followed by shock and awe.  And those cupcakes... damn.  Cookies require legit margarine, none of this straight vegetable oil (as in today's attempt), and none of this "50% vegetable oil" stuff at the Food City.

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